The Urbz is a recreation that has escaped the general public I’ve talked about it to. A wierd spin-off in The Sims sequence, the sport made its approach onto the GBA, GameCube, PS2, Xbox, and Nintendo DS in 2004. The simulation title turns 18 right now, and I am nonetheless baffled as to how extra folks have not performed it sooner or later or one other.
What additionally makes The Urbz weird, as is the case with just a few different titles in The Sims sequence, is that each the console and handheld video games are completely different. Now, no matter which model you performed, each variations of the sport show to be quite wacky. They’re video games that I look again on fondly, and I don’t find out about you, however I miss the times when Maxis would churn out distinct spin-offs within the sequence. The Sims 2’s handheld model had one of the riveting tales of any The Sims title – and let’s not overlook The Sims Castaway, MySims, and even The Sims Bustin’ Out.
I imply, the soundtrack for the console model of The Urbz is actually The Black Eyed Peas’ music translated into Simlish. The group themselves additionally appeared as visitors within the recreation. Did I simply play this by luck as a bored baby, with an avid curiosity in The Sims? I may’ve sworn The Black Eyed Peas had been all the fashion again once I was a toddler… or possibly I had poor style.
Anyway, what occurs within the console model of The Urbz is that The Black Eyed Peas come alongside and kindly assist you to acquire entry to a membership. You’re new to Simcity, having simply fled the nest, and the membership determined they didn’t like your dance strikes. However that doesn’t matter, as a result of The Black Eyed Peas are right here. After that, you principally befriend the preferred particular person on the town, Darius, and beat up some unhealthy guys. The remainder is historical past.
Finally, once you’re not tending to your Sim’s wants, you spend most of your time in The Urbz socialising; you journey round every space of Simcity to satisfy every of its respective cliques, tickling them into submission (actually, at occasions) and forcing your friendship upon them. Put it this manner, Sims in The Urbz don’t appear to care for private area all that a lot, and you find yourself being the lifetime of the social gathering.
When you befriend every social group and banish three baddies that had been inflicting havoc across the metropolis, it comes as no shock that everybody loves you, and also you’re SimCity’s new star. Darius then arms over the important thing to his penthouse, and that’s it, you’ve peaked.
As for the hand-held model of the sport, this was to behave as a sequel to the GBA launch of The Sims Bustin’ Out. Sadly, this one didn’t function The Black Eyed Peas, however you’ll be able to find yourself with an enormous statue of your self being constructed, as an alternative; I’d argue that’s equally cool.
The hand-held model of The Urbz is a extra linear expertise, by which you comply with a way more difficult story that entails thwarting capitalism and time journey. It’s nice, the pixel artwork fashion of it nonetheless holds as much as at the present time, and I’d nonetheless suggest it for those who’ve an NDS or GBA mendacity round someplace.
The similarities between the hand-held and console variations of the sport reside with socialising and recognition, which is an overarching theme in lots of The Sims titles (besides The Sims Castaway, the place socialising is, predictably, laborious to return by). Whereas the story of the hand-held model is actually extra linear and detailed – and has you assembly much more unforgettable villains reminiscent of Urangoo McBain, Kiki Blunt, and Harry Snivel – it’s nonetheless all about becoming in, gaining the belief of Sims, and befriending close to everybody on this city. You can even swallow swords, boogie away on a dance mat, and boil the piss of foes with stink bombs. I wasn’t joking once I stated this recreation was wholly weird.
Because of this, you fall right into a plan to take down capitalism – utilizing time journey – that almost all video games would most likely draw back from. However that is The Urbz, and nothing is an excessive amount of for one, lonely Sim away from dwelling. Finally, you turn into the city hero, saving Simcity’s King Tower from Daddy Bigbucks, and bagging your self a spot of respect within the hearts of each Sim you’ve met up to now. That is the place the massive statue of your Sim is available in.
It actually shouldn’t be a shock to you that The Sims sequence on a complete is a satire of client tradition. However by no means is that this extra apparent than in The Urbz. With client tradition being propped up by cash and materialism, it doesn’t come as a shock when Daddy Bigbucks is trying to declare energy over the city in an actual property takeover. Or when villains reminiscent of Urangoo McBain are pilfering funds and capital from the working man. The Urbz really offers the participant the chance to stand up in opposition to client tradition, and it even paves the best way for us to have a look at counter-cultures throughout society too, and the way these operate.
Who’d have thought that The Urbz would find yourself being one huge sociology lesson? For a spin-off in The Sims sequence, there’s so much to remove from The Urbz and all of the socialising that you simply’re made to do as a way to enact significant social change.
You would take the sport with a grain of a salt and see it as a wackier, city model of The Sims 1 and a couple of. Or, you’ll be able to have a look at the sport by a extra sociological lens and see that The Urbz can really train us a half-decent lesson concerning the significance of counterculture, and the way mainstream society wants them as a way to maintain unchallenged social paradigms to account. The Urbz, possibly, is a vital look into the world of The Sims – the dust underneath the fingernails of a world we don’t get to see out within the neatly-curated suburbs and commune utopias of the sequels.
Both approach, The Urbz must be Maxis’ greatest tackle making a satire out of society. However I’m undecided what The Black Eyed Peas essentially needed to do with all that.